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Ukrainian govt continues fanning tensions around Russian reporters in Kiev

February 25, 2015, 23:20 UTC+3 MOSCOW
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MOSCOW, February 25. /TASS/. Ukrainian continues fanning tensions around Russian journalists who cover events in the country stricken by the crisis and internal turbulences.

On Wednesday, authorities denied entry of the country’s territory to Inna Ossipova, a reporter working for the news desk of the Moscow-based TV channel NTV, the press service of the channel said.

Ossipova arrived in Zhulyany airport in Kiev from Moscow. Problems at emerged at once as she was passing immigration control.

Passport control officers started inquiring into Inna’s personal data and eventually refused to let her out of the airport’s building, telling her she could not prove the goal of her sojourn on the territory of Ukraine.

Executives of the channel also said the officers took away her passport from her. In most probability, Inna will get it back only on Thursday morning when she flies back to Moscow.

At much the same time, another reporter for NTV, Andrei Grigoryev, who was detained in Kiev earlier on Wednesday while doing a report on a city street, returned to Russia.

Grigoryev said live on the air right from the Moscow airport shortly after arrival that the Ukrainian authorities had denied entry to him for five years.

"I was detained right in the center of Kiev where we were filming a procession, in which extremists of the Right Sector, football ultras and others in the same category were taking part," he said. "They were going to express their disagreement with the incumbent government during their march-past."

"Participants in the street action came up to us and asked me to show my documents to them but I told them I would do this only at a police department where they drove me eventually," Grigoryev said.

"My documents - the ID from my editorial office and my passport - were OK but then officers of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) appeared," he said. "They didn’t fill out any formal protocol. They talked to me about journalism as a profession, freedom of speech and a geopolitical situation of some sort."

"It seems their decision had been prepared much in advance - they simply told me that the Russian media in Ukraine were highly unwanted," Grigoryev said.

On the same day, Ukrainian authorities detained a reporter for Russia’s Pervy channel Yelena Makarova.

SBU spokeswoman Yelena Gitlyanskaya said a decision on cutting the sojourn of these reporters in Ukraine had been taken.

"They will be deported to the Russian Federation today and entry of Ukraine will be denied to them for the next five years," she said.

In Brussels, a spokesperson for the EU urged the authorities in Kiev to stay committed to freedom of expression and the media.

He was asked to comment on the Kiev officials' plans to restrict the operations of reporters representing a number of Russian media in Ukraine.

The spokesperson said the EU was making emphasis on the importance of commitment to freedoms of speech and of the media.

Any restrictions applied to the media should conform to international standards, which means they should be well-grounded by the emergence of threats to other freedoms and should be open to challenging in the courtroom, he said.

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